Vegan Cobb Salad and Dressing Recipe for Vegan Wednesday

IMG_6277 IMG_6276 (1)

Now that the weather is heating up and local produce is getting cheaper, I figured it a vegan cobb salad would be just the thing.  This really hit the spot today for lunch.  It’s delicious, fresh, and filling.

Traditional cobb salad (ick) contains eggs, bacon, chicken, and blue cheese along with lettuce and onions.  Mostly it’s just gross, obesity and heart attack causing animal flesh and secretions on some greens, no thanks.  Reminds me of this meme I made:

Cobb salad in theory is great though, and of course it’s very customizable, so that is why this one tops a bed of purple and green lettuce with quinoa, pan-fried asparagus, avocado, cucumber, and veggie meat (actually Field Roast Lentil Sage deli slices fried in oil, soy sauce, and maple syrup) with homemade red wine vinaigrette dressing.

Vegan Cobb Salad Ingredients

Makes 3 large salads

6 cups lettuces or lettuce blend, romaine, dark lettuce, etc., torn into bite size pieces.  I used Artisan Lettuce pack from ALDI
1 avocado, seeded, peeled, and cubed
1 whole cucumber, peeled and cubed
Veggie meat of your choice or beans (rinse if canned)
Asparagus, pan-fried or roasted
1/2 cup quinoa cooked in 3/4 cup vegetable broth

Directions:

1. Bring 3/4 cup of vegetable broth to a soft boil on the stove while washing 1/2 cup of quinoa in a fine sieve or cheesecloth.  Washing helps to prevent the bitter taste of saponin, which quinoa is coated in until you wash it.  Add washed quinoa, turn heat to low, and cover with pot lid.

2. While the quinoa cooks, fry the asparagus.  Heat 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil (I used corn oil) in a wide pan on medium high heat.  Add chopped asparagus and fry for about 7 minutes while quinoa cooks, tossing gently every two minutes or so.  Add salt to taste.

3. Once asparagus is finished, check quinoa for doneness.  Meaning, taste it.  If it’s hard, put the cover back on and let it steam a few more minutes.  When quinoa is fluffy and appears to have little tails, it is ready to eat.  Empty the asparagus in a bowl and put it aside.  Use the same pan to fry or reheat the veggie meat of your choice.  Gardein or Beyond Meat chicken would also be good, or try tofu.  Or skip veggie meat altogether and add another vegetable, such as roasted or pickled beets.  It’s up to you.

3. Make a layer of lettuce in the bottom of 3 salad bowls — a large, flat bowl works the best — and add stripes of cucumber, asparagus, avocado.  Your quinoa should be done by now, so add a stripe of that along with a stripe of veggie meat.

4. Make the dressing and serve it on the side.  Dressing recipe follows:

Basic Vinaigrette for Vegan Cobb Salad

Ingredients:

1/4 cup red wine vinegar or any vinegar, such as champagne, ACV, balsamic, whatever
1/2 cup oil (I used olive oil)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup any color miso OR 2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard or 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons sweetener (I used sugar) or to taste
1 clove garlic

Dressing directions

Add all ingredients to blender and blend until garlic bits are no longer visible.  Serve on the side of Vegan Cobb Salad.

Tofu Scramble Burritos for Vegan Wednesday

Yes, Vegan Wednesday is actually Vegan Everyday in my case as I have been vegan for the animals since July 26, 2010.

Still, I figure people are looking for some easy, cheap vegan recipes.

This is a tofu burrito and a couple of homemade salads, creamy cucumber and fast coleslaw, I took to work.  I eat dinner at work because of my hours, so brown-bagging it is a much cheaper, healthier, and better alternative to making a run outside the building for food.

Tofu Scramble Burritos

1 package firm tofu, usually about 13 to 16 ounces, drained
1/2 a small onion, chopped
1/2 cup frozen bell peppers, I use the tri-color frozen pepper mix from Trader Joes
Oil for frying, about 2 teaspoons

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional, adds Vitamin B spectrum and flavor)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric (provides pretty yellow color and antioxidants)
2 teaspoons salt or to taste

Burrito shells – I used fajita shells from Aldi that cost less than a dollar per package

tofuegg

The tofu mixture in the fry pan

Directions:

Heat oil in a frying pan on medium heat for about a minute and a half.  Add onions and fry them until slightly translucent, about 1 minute.  Thaw the peppers in the microwave for one minute in a small bowl and squeeze off the pepper water.  Drain tofu and crumble it directly into the frying pan with the onions, or just flop the whole cube in there and mash it with a fork once it is sitting amongst the onions.  Add bell pepper, nutritional yeast, turmeric, and additional spices or herbs that you enjoy.  Mix until the turmeric is evenly distributed and then salt to taste.  I like a lot of salt and I have never had blood pressure problems, so I use 2 teaspoons of black salt, a type of sulphured salt from the Indian grocery store that imparts an eggy flavor.

Heat the burrito shells gently in a dry pan or microwave them for 20 seconds to make them pliable.  Dump about a cup of tofu filling into the burrito shell and then roll it up, or eat it like a soft taco.

IMG_6248

IMG_6250

IMG_6247
Creamy Cucumber Salad

2 large cucumbers
1 tablespoon chopped green, red, yellow, or white onion (I used red onion)
2 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise (I used Just Mayo I found at Target for under $4)
1 teaspoon dried dill, thyme, basil, etc. (I used a premade mix of Herbes de Provence)
1/2 teaspoon salt plus salt to taste

Finely slice the cucumbers by hand or use a cucumber slicer — I used the cucumber slicer on the side of a four-sided cheese and vegetable shredder.  Sprinkle the 1/2 teaspoon of salt on the cucumbers, let them sit 5 to 10 minutes.  Press them in a colander over a sink, squeezing as much of their water out as you can with your clean hands.

Mix squeezed, drained cucumbers in a large bowl with onion, mayonnaise, and herbs.  Mix and add salt to taste.

IMG_6246
Fast Coleslaw

1/2 head of cabbage, any kind, finely chopped into shreds (I used white)
1/4 cup onion, chopped (I used red onion)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon oil
Salt to taste

Chop the cabbage and onion finely and mix them together in a large bowl.  Add vinegar, sugar, and oil, toss and add salt to taste.

Wait about an hour for cabbage to marinate and soften.

Can be eaten room temperature or chilled.

 

Daily Vegan Lunch for 13 December, 2013: Potato Leek Curry

vegan potato leek curry IMG_3818
INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon oil
1.5 cups onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup red bell pepper, chopped (I used red bell pepper from a jar)
1.5 cups green part of leeks, chopped finely
4 cups potatoes, skinned and cubed
Water for boiling potatoes
4 cups water or vegetable broth, I used water
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon lemon juice OR 2 teaspoons mango powder (amchoor powder)
1 tablespoon chili sauce or 2 teaspoons tabasco or Sriacha or to taste for heat
Salt to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Peel potatoes and chop them into cubes.  Put them in a pot and cover them with water.  Bring the pot to a boil (high heat) and then immediately turn down the heat and cook for about 20 minutes.  If you cut the potatoes to the small size you see in the photo above, you won’t have to cook them the whole 20 minutes.  Potatoes are done when they are fork tender but not mushy.  Drain the potatoes, set them aside.

In a large pan, cook the onion in oil on medium-high heat until translucent.  Add the garlic and all spices except mango powder/lemon juice.  Allow the spices and garlic to cook for about 30 seconds, douse with water.  Add the cooked potatoes, leeks, and red pepper to the pan.  Cook about five minutes or until the potatoes thicken the broth and add salt to taste.   Add hot sauce to taste.  Add the lemon juice or mango powder last, right before serving.    

Daily Vegan Lunch for 4 December, 2013: Unchicken Udon

Udon is the fastest meal in the East or the West. It is a street food in Japan. I like udon because the noodles don’t need cooking — they only need to sit in hot water long enough to separate. Even the frozen or dry ones don’t take very long.

un-chicken udon vegan

IMG_3789

2 packages dry, frozen, or refrigerated udon (I used refrigerated)
4 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin (sweet cooking wine, alternately, use any dry white wine and add a couple teaspoons of sugar)
2 tablespoons sake
1.5 cups green onions, chopped
Salt to taste

4 – 5 Gardein chicken tenders or 2 cups any vegetable protein (seitan, tempeh, smoked tofu) cut into bite sized chunks

DIRECTIONS:

Prepare veggie chicken by baking at 400 for 20 minutes on a cookie sheet. Turn over and let them cook for 5 more minutes.

Finely chop green onions and set them aside.

Mix broth, soy sauce, mirin, and sake in a pot on the stove and heat until nearly boiling on medium-high heat.

Remove noodles from packaging and drop them directly into the broth. Frozen or dry noodles will take up to 4 minutes longer than refrigerated ones.

If using refrigerated noodles, turn off the heat immediately. For frozen or dry, wait until the noodles are al dente.

Add onions and mix.

Top the soup with pieces of unchicken or other veggie meat.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 30 November, 2013: Reuben Lentil Casserole with Mashed Potatoes

sauerkraut mashed potato lentil casserole

IMG_3767

This was a great way to use leftover mashed potatoes from Thanksgiving.

INGREDIENTS:

1.5 cups onion, chopped
1 tablespoon oil
2 cups cooked lentils mixed with 1 cup vegetable broth OR 2 cups prepared lentil soup, I used the former
2 cups sauerkraut, drained
2.5 cups mashed potatoes

SAUCE INGREDIENTS:

1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
1/3 cup ketchup
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Fry the onions in 1 tablespoon oil on medium-high heat until translucent, set aside.

Mix cooked lentils with 1 cup vegetable broth.

In a 9 x 9″ casserole dish, pour the layer lentils or lentil soup. Spread sauerkraut on top of the lentil layer, then onions, then spread the mashed potatoes evenly on top.

Mix the sauce ingredients in a small bowl, whipping them with a fork if necessary. Drizzle or spread the sauce over the top of the assembled casserole.

Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 29 November, 2013: Angel Hair Pasta with Peas, Spinach, and Pine Nuts

vegan angel hair pasta with peas, spinach, and pine nuts

IMG_3764

INGREDIENTS:

1/4 cup olive oil
6 cups cooked angel hair pasta or about half a box
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen spinach
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon lemon juice
liberal black pepper
1/2 cup pine nuts

DIRECTIONS:

Prepare pasta according to package directions, cover and set aside.

Dry roast the pine nuts in a shallow pan by spreading them out in the pan and turning the stove’s heat to medium. In about 5 minutes, the pine nuts will become fragrant. Stir them around and roast about 1 more minute. Take them off the heat and set aside.

Defrost the spinach and the peas in the microwave or on the stovetop with a little water, drain if necessary. Fry the garlic in 1 teaspoon of the oil on medium heat in a shallow pan. Add the defrosted spinach, and peas to the pan.

Put the spinach mixture in the bottom of a large mixing bowl. Add the noodles, pine nuts, and remaining oil to the noodles and vegetables. Pour or squeeze the lemon juice on the noodles and add the pepper. Mix well and taste test. If it needs salt, add that and remix.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 19 November, 2013: Lazy Pierogi (Sauerkraut and Sweet Potato Lasagna)

This one was delicious, especially if you love sauerkraut as much as I do.vegan lazy pierogi vegan lazy pierogi sauerkraut lasagna

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 package of lasagna noodles
2.5 cups onions
1 tablespoon oil

5 cups sauerkraut

5 cups mashed sweet potato
1 cup vegetable broth

1.5 cups additional vegetable broth

DIRECTIONS:

Caramelize the onions by cooking them in a pan with the oil on medium heat.  Stir gently and about 20 minutes later, when they begin to turn brown, take them off the heat.

Boil water in a large pot and drop in the lasagna noodles.  Boil them until they are al dente, about 7 minutes.  Set aside.  If they stick, running them under cool water will get them unstuck.

Pierce sweet potato with a fork and cook it in the microwave for 5 to 7 minutes.  Alternately, piece with fork and bake it at 350 for 30 minutes.
Scoop out the sweet potato (about 2 – 3 cups worth) and mix it with enough vegetable broth to moisten.

Grease a large casserole pan and lay out a layer of lasagna noodles to cover the bottom.  Cover the noodles with sauerkraut, spreading until it becomes a 3/4 inch thick layer.  Lay down more noodles and spread the caramelized onions as a layer.  Lastly, lay down noodles on top of the onions and spread this with the sweet potato mixture.

Douse the lasagna with remaining 1.5 cups broth.  Bake in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes.